Friday 2 February 2018

What's been happening?

What’s been happening?

(Clicking on the photos enlarges them - usually . . . )

The days and weeks and months pass so quickly and when I look back I can’t see that anything much has happened. So, what has been happening?

In February and August of 2016, after years of increasing immobility and pain, Barry had two knee replacements. The result is that he is taller and can do so much more now. He was a very good patient and did all his exercises assiduously. His physiotherapist was extremely good and got the measure of him very quickly, recognising his very competitive spirit, and warning advising him not to overdo things.

 In February last year, 2017, Susannah treated us to a trip to Tromsø in Norway to see the Northern Lights. If proof were needed of the success of Barry’s knee operations, it was provided by that holiday. We went out at night into the fjords to see the Lights and Barry stood for several hours, filming them. The next day we went out again, in the hope of seeing orcas and humpback whales, though the majority had left the area, and again Barry stood for several hours taking photographs. We saw a couple of orcas and one humpback.
Aurora Borealis, Tromso

In the summer, Susannah and I went to Lucca in Tuscany. She was going to a friend’s wedding and I was going to look after Frankie. However, Frankie didn’t come with us in the end. It was very hot!
Villa Cheli, Lucca, Tuscany
Italian wall lizard
In August, our eldest grandson, Callum, came to live with us. He is on a year’s work placement from university. It’s lovely to have a young man in the house and beneficial for Frankie to have another good male role model. We see a lot of his girl-friend, Kat, too.
Callum and Kat at the helm of Appaloosa. 
In September Frankie started full-time school. As he had been attending pre-school in the same school since he was three, the staff and facilities were familiar to him. However, quite naturally, he was a little anxious and wanted to know if there would be toilets there! The uniform was a challenge for him. No longer was it a case of pulling on a tee-shirt and trousers. Now he had to manage shirt buttons. I have watched my husband countless times as he strains and contorts to fasten the wretched top button. Although Frankie had practised fastening buttons before term started, he could not manage the top button and found it frustrating. In fact, the thought of undressing and dressing affected his enjoyment of school and there were several occasions when he said, ‘I don’t like swimming/PE/school.’ It passed, of course, and now he is proud that he can get undressed/dressed quicker than his peers. Like his grandfather, Frankie is very competitive.
First day of school - so many clothes!
 The watchword in our house is, ‘Practice makes perfect’ and so it proves with many things. Frankie asked me the other day why I could write so quickly and I told him it was because I’d had lots of practice.

We hosted Christmas 2017, the first time we’ve done that for several years. Bethan and Robert and Charlie came, with Lolly, of course. It was fun and we were so well-organised, unusually for us, that we could have eaten lunch at 11.30. Susannah, a dedicated vegetarian, was in charge of vegetables and I was responsible for cooking the meat. The thing that delayed us and made us laugh was part of the vegetarian element. The Brussels sprouts were not ready! Even so, we ate at 1.00 which was just as well as small children cannot wait long for food without becoming fretful.
Charlie and Frankie
On the animal front the Labradors keep us busy and make us go out. We may sometimes be reluctant but the rewards are many, not least seeing the joy of our dogs playing. We both use walking poles as the ground we cover is rough and full of ruts and roots and often extremely muddy.
Retrieving sticks
The cats are six in number. We have our three Ocicat brothers, who will be six this year. Susannah’s much loved and characterful Abyssinian, Cleopatra, known as Pats or Patricia, died in 2017. Susannah already had two Somali brothers (Somalis are long-haired Abyssinians) and now has a tiny, exquisite Abyssinian female, Zula, who was one year old on 1st February. The cats adore the dogs, Bertie in particular, and you may be sure that if you are making a fuss of a dog you will soon be joined by one or more cats.
All the animals love Callum and pile onto and around him and also Kat. I think they respond positively to youth!
Callum with four dogs and two cats

So there you have it. We have done very little other than look after our family. We are older but not much wiser and still look to the future though with less optimism about our lovely country. Politicians of both main parties, at least those in the headlines, the ‘leaders’, prove their incompetence almost daily. MPs of all persuasions demand that more money should be thrown at whichever problem is causing the most unease at any time. That is not the answer but it impresses the voters . . . maybe. Plus ça change!


  1. Frankie is adorable (better tell him I said handsome) and I can never get enoough cat photos. Sounds like you've had a busy but generally happy time. You really can't ask for much more can you?

    1. I believe it's called 'contentment' (must keep reminding myself of that)

  2. Hi Janice - so glad the knees have held up so well ... and two wonderful holidays - Norway and Italy ... one lucky Jabblog!! The kids are a delight and how lovely to have Callum around providing Frankie with an extra role model to look up to ...

    While the animooooools ... wonderful to see and read about ... very happy to hear general Jablbog life updates from time to time ... you'll have lots to share ...

    I'm now in Canada for a couple of years being with an elderly cousin, to take the pressure off her family here ... she is one handful - not your happy adventure ... but we move along - and what an opportunity to spend time on Vancouver Island ...

    Cheers for now - Hilary

    1. Hilary, you're a star! My niece lives in Vancouver. Apparently, it rains every day . . .

  3. Hi Janice,
    It was such a nice surprise to see your blog pop up on my sidebar. So glad to know that all is going well in your world and that the knee replacements were a success.
    Frankie looks very handsome in his school clothes.
    That last photo made me smile. Everybody looks quite content.

  4. Did you say nothing much had happened during the year?
    It’s all lovely. Enjoy whatever life throws at you, so far nothing bad has. May it remain so.


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